Silicon Valley Interns Probably Make Way More Than You

Getting a job in the United States is tough enough as it is, so we’re sorry to add insult to injury by letting you know that a bunch of interns are earning way more than you.

Not surprisingly, these interns will be working in Silicon Valley.

Data collected by Rodney Folz, a former University of California Berkeley student and soon-to-be Yelp intern, found that the median base salary for an engineering-focused summer internship at some of the big boys in tech is $6,800. If that sounds like a lot it’s because it is. What’s more, that comes out to $81,600 a year. Man, that movie The Internship really nailed it, didn’t they?

The national wage index, according to data compiled by the  Social Security Administration in 2014, is $46,481.52. So, yeah… Silicon Valley interns will make nearly double what the average person in the United States makes.

Folz figured it’s be a solid idea to put together some data comparing what his peer earn, so he sent out a Google survey to comp-sci and tech group listservs, including groups for women, the LGBTQ community and African Americans. He also asked some of his mates what they’d be making just for good measure. Some 503 people who landed summer internships in software or electrical engineering, product design, product management, industrial design and program management anonymously answered his survey. Participants included those who landed gig with Apple, Google Uber and Snapchat.

However, as with any survey, you’re bound to get some outliers. Three respondents claimed they landed internships with Snapchat that would pay them $9,000 to $11,000 a month. Naturally, Folz was a bit skeptical of this.

“A couple [of] people had mentioned they didn’t believe the Snapchat offer,” he said.

Four students said they got hooked up with Groupon and were receiving benefits packages with $13,000 per month.

“Groupon, I saw jokes about that on Twitter.” he added.

Naturally, Snapchat and Groupon have declined and have yet to offer any comments, respectively.

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The 18 companies that received the most replies, which totaled 298 responses, account for the median monthly salary of $6,800. As seen in the diagram above, Pinterest interns rake in the most at $9,000 per month while Tesla Motors interns are at the bottom of the scale with $4,500 per month. Folz’s survey asked about other cash benefits offered to interns including travel stipends, gym memberships and housing. Including those perks saw salaries go as high as $10,500 at Twitch, which the live-streaming platform confirmed.

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“Google offers a competitive compensation package to all interns and employees,” said Roya Soleimani, Google’s corporate communications manager, in an e-mailed statement. According to Folz’s data, Google interns make a median of $6,666 per month, along with a median $9,000 stipend. These estimates are confirmed by the similar numbers Glassdoor.

Rodney says he put together the survey to make sure that young workers don’t “undervalue themselves.”

“The roles they offer to interns, they’re basically full-time responsibilities but for three months at a time,” Folz said. “A lot of the products that these student interns [work on] end up being part of the core product that these companies own.”

Those who took the survey attended a variety of universities and had various levels of degrees, but most of them had one thing in common: They didn’t negotiate their salary.

“I think the idea of being courted like this, being paid so much, being offered so much responsibility at a new job doing real things, is really exciting, especially when it’s never happened to you before,” Folz explained. “They don’t want to ruin it by trying to ask for more.”

Meanwhile, the rest of us who don’t work in those fields are just sitting here slaving away for massive companies that treat us as expendable while those California companies shell out to make their employees happy.

Sorry, I’m just being salty.


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